How do you handle conflict?

Tell me about a time when you had a conflict with someone. How did you handle it?

There is always a reason why an interviewer would ask a particular question. It could be that the interviewer would want to know about an experience, skill, personality, attitude, knowledge, or ability that you have. Since interviewers do not know you personally, a good way to gauge your qualifications is to ask questions.

One of the things that recruiting officers would want to know is how well you can handle conflicts. This is because conflicts may arise at any given time in the workplace and if an individual does not know how to manage and resolve a conflict then it can be a cause for concern.

What They Want to Know

Interviewers want to find out how you usually react to a conflict. How did you manage it? What did you do to resolve it? They want to know if you are able to use your interpersonal skills to address the issue. Did you listen to the other person?s side? Were you fair, reasonable, and open-minded? Additionally, they also want to know if you remained calm when the conflict occurred and if you were able to focus on the issue instead of getting carried away by your emotions.

Other things they want to find out are the techniques you used to manage and/or resolve the conflict, such as asking questions to find out the root cause of the problem as well as analyzing the situation from both sides and coming up with an acceptable solution.

What You Should Not Say

Sometimes, people can get carried away when giving an answer that concerns conflict management. This is especially true when they get to the part where they have to give an example. But there are things that are better left unsaid, and in this case, it would be wise not to put the blame on anyone (example: ?my boss would not listen to me? or ?my colleague started it because she was being nosy?). When you begin to point fingers, it would give a negative impression of you.

Another thing you need to avoid is highlighting examples that would show you were the cause of the conflict. Obviously, you do not want to give the impression of being a troublemaker?nobody wants to hire such person. Instead, give an example that would demonstrate your ability to deal with conflicts.

How to Answer

When answering this question, it is necessary to answer in a clear and logical manner. First, you need to talk about the circumstance, so describe the situation as clearly as you can. Then, talk about the conflict; explain what caused it. Then go on and explain what you did in order to solve the problem. During this time, talk about the techniques or methods you used in order to come up with a viable solution. And lastly, point out the outcome of your efforts. Again, it is advised that you highlight on the positive outcomes of your conflict resolution.

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